DUBOIS — Coudersport is getting closer. Head coach Tom Storey can feel it.
A year after not being competitive in a 48-6 loss to Farrell in the PIAA Class 1A quarterfinals, the Falcons found themselves a lot more competitive Friday night against the defending Class 1A champion Steelers.
In the end, the result was still a 28-0 loss. But there were a lot of things, especially on the defensive side of the football, for Coudersport to be proud of.
“That the whole idea (to get more competitive),” Storey said. “We have to do the offseason stuff if you want to come up to their level. That’s building that culture and everything like that. That’s the program you want to build. It’s discussions we’ve had as coaches, the administration at the school and everything like that. I really want to be at this stage and playing with these guys and stuff like that. These guys (Farrell) Have been here many times. They’re used to it. They’ve got that attitude. We need to find that a little bit in our guys. Stuff like that, as coaches, it’s trying to drag that out of the guys.”
Storey and the Falcons can hope to build off the defensive effort they showed not only Friday night but all season long.
Coudersport’s defense limited the Steelers to 13 points below their season scoring average of 41.4 points per game while also holding them to their second-fewest total yards (309) and second-fewest rushing yards (198) on the season. Only Wilmington, which is playing in the PIAA Class 2A semifinals this weekend, held Farrell to fewer total yards and fewer rushing yards, and Farrell hadn’t been held to under 30 points since a 40-0 loss to Wilmington Aug. 30.
Coudersport played well enough on defense holding Farrell well below its average of 41.4 points per game — in fact, the 28 points was the third-lowest total for the Steelers this season, their lowest against a Class 1A school and the fewest points they scored since losing 40-0 to Wilmington Aug. 30.
“The defense, that is what we lived on all year,” Storey said.
While Coudersport’s defense continued to play as it had all season, the Falcons offense had trouble getting going against a great Farrell defense.
The Steelers, who came into the game allowing just 94.2 yards per game on the ground, limited the Falcons to 87 yards on 38 carries with 83 of that coming in the second half. Coudersport completed just one pass all night for zero yards. The Falcons had just four first downs, two on the game’s final drive, and no first downs in the first half.
“They were just dominating the front line,” Storey said. “It’s hard to (run) the ball. Then, you try loosening them up a little bit by throwing some passes, and we’re getting sacked.”
It didn’t help Coudersport that 1,000-yard rusher Travis Gleason missed the game with an injury.
“I think I’ve told you guys this a lot this year, but you only have about 14 of 15 guys that can play the varsity game,” Storey said. “When guys start to drop and you lose two or three, we’re pushing guys around, moving them around. That, in a sense, is what a small school is. I don’t want to take anything away from Farrell. They are a dang good team. Football is their life. They are Farrell.”
Without Gleason, a lot of the offensive pressure landed on the shoulders of junior quarterback Hayden Keck. Keck and the Falcons struggled in the passing game with the offensive line not creating a pocket for Keck to have time to throw the ball.
The signal caller was able to rush for 68 yards on 19 carries, although many of those yards came on scrambles.
“We’re trying to get the ball to him,” Storey said. “We tried running the option. They were just dominating the front line. It’s hard to do that. They, you’re trying to loosen them up a little bit by throwing some passes and we’re getting sacked.”
Coudersport best shot at scoring came in the third quarter down 21-0 when Jacob Pitcher returned a kickoff 37 yards to the Farrel 41-yard line.
On third-and-3 from the 34, Keck got loose for a 31-yard run to the Farrell 3-yard line, and a 1-yard run by Pitcher moved the ball to the 2-yard line.
But, on second down, Keck was dropped for a 1-yard run. The Falcons then tried to get tricky with Kolby VanWhy in the wild cat while putting a receiver in motion across the formation at the snap. But the snap either hit the receiver or VanWhy’s handoff hit the receiver’s hip.
Either way, the ball was loose on the ground, and Farrell’s Juwon Samuels recovered at the 1-yard line to end the Coudersport threat.
The Falcons had another golden opportunity when, after Farrell moved the ball midfield, a bad snap on a punt gave Coudersport the ball at the Steelers 35-yard line.
Two runs gained four yards, but on third down Keck was sacked back at the 40-yard line. Then on fourth down a Keck scramble got the ball to the 26-yard line, a yard short. It wouldn’t have mattered, as Coudersport was called for a hold on the ball that was declined because the ball was turned over on downs.
Right after Coudersport turned the ball over on downs, Farrell put the game away with a 74-yard flip pass from Raymond Raver to Jaden Harrison to make the score 28-0.
It was the second touchdown for Harrison, who opened the scoring with a 10-yard run with 10:53 to play in the first half. Farrell made it 14-0 at halftime when Raver scored on a 2-yard run late in the half, and then Anthony Stallworth scored on a 2-yard run early in the third quarter to make it 21-0.
Stallworth led the Steelers with 163 yards on the ground on 22 carries.
The loss ended another great season for Coudersport, which won its second consecutive District 9 Class 1A title while winning its first 11 games before Friday night’s loss.
Storey praised the seniors for what they meant to the program.
“They’re a great bunch of guys,” Storey said. “They’ve come up through the program, and all the way up they’ve always been successful. They won the district title, they went undefeated in doing so. They did a great job.”
Farrell (12-2) plays Clarion for the right to go to Hershey in the PIAA semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday at North Allegheny High School.
Coudersport finishes the season at 11-1.
FARRELL 28, COUDERSPORT 0 Score by Quarters
Farrell 0 14 6 8 — 28
Coudy 0 0 0 0 — 0
Score by Quarters Second Quarter
F — Jaden Harrison 10 run (Brian Hilton Jr. kick), 10:53
F — Raymond Raver 2 run (Hilton Jr. kick), 1:59
F — Anthony Stallworth 2 run (Kick failed), 9:14
F — Harrison 74 pass from Raver (Omar Stewart pass from
FARRELL — STATS — COUDERSPORT
17 First Downs 4
49-198 Rushes-Yards 38-87
4-9-0 Comp-Att-Int 1-4-0
111 Passing Yards 0
58-310 Plays-Yards 42-87
4-1 Fumbles-Lost 3-2
10-65 Penalties-Yards 3-35
RUSHING: Farrell — Anthony Stallworth 22-163, Jaden Harrison
14-47, Sayvion Thomas 1-5, Anthony Jackson 1-4, Raymond Raver 10-negative
7, Team 1-negative 14. Coudersport — Hayden Keck 19-68, Dylan Kelly 4-15,
Brandt Kightlinger 5-12, Jacob Pitcher 2-4, Thomas Wilson 5-4, Kolby
VanWhy 1-0, Team 2-negative 16.
PASSING: Farrell — Raymond Raver 4-for-9, 111 yards, 1
touchdown. Coudersport — Hayden Keck 1-for-4, 0 yards.
RECEIVING: Farrell — Jaden Harrison 1-74, Anthony Stallworth
2-29, Brian Hilton Jr. 1-8. Coudersport — Thomas Wilson 1-0.